Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre
Our Impact Why We Exist
Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre strives to be a best practice facility in training and mentorship of young people in television broadcasting, radio and new media. The innovative programming at Regent Park Focus is one-of-a-kind in Toronto and Canada and was recognized as a Toronto Arts Foundation Youth for Arts Award finalist in 2014 and 2012!
- Established in 1990 as part of a provincial government-initiated strategy to promote health in vulnerable communities and address the need for interventions for youth in high-risk areas.
- In 1993, Regent Park Focus began using media arts as an intervention activity to engage young people in countering negative stereotypes about the area.
- Community youth responded so positively to these initiatives that, by 1995, media arts had become the primary intervention strategy.
- Now in its 26th year, Regent Park Focus serves as a Community New Media, and Radio, and Television Arts Broadcasting Centre dedicated to best practices in training and mentorship of youth in radio and television broadcasting and digital arts, engaging youth from both Regent Park and around the City of Toronto.
Why does this work matter?
1) As cited in the 2014 Vital Signs report (p. 175), arts play an important role in community cohesion, which is part of Regent Park Focus' mandate and mission (i.e., building social inclusion by regularly profiling the community’s diverse cultural life and providing forums for residents to learn about each other, voice their experiences, share stories, explore issues of relevance and foster individual and community empowerment). In fact, according to the report, -42% of Torontonians say the top impacts of the arts on communities are sharing experiences, building connections (39%), bridging differences (36%), increasing understanding between people (31%), increasing local participation (29%), and building local pride (15%).
2) Providing young people, especially those from disenfranchised backgrounds, with accessible training, tools, support, and experience needed for school, career and employment opportunities is important because, not only do arts, and the stories that are told, connect people, but Regent Park Focus prepares its participants to access the increasing opportunities in broadcast arts. For example, as noted in the most recent Vital Signs report:
"Although professional employment in arts and culture in Toronto declined slightly in 2014, it remained higher than in 2012, and Toronto’s screen-based industries contributed more than $1.23 billion to the economy of the city in 2014, exceeding $1B for the 4th straight year (2015, p. 203)"
Our Story What We Do
Regent Park Focus is one of Toronto's most-seasoned community arts organizations. Established in 1990, the agency attained incorporation status on March 17, 2010, and, in January 2011, relocated into a 4,452 sq. ft. space, pre-designed to house a media lab, radio control room, sound booth, editing studio, television control room, and large broadcast studio. Other assets include: a vigorous social media and web presence, programming and operation of a neighbourhood closed-circuit tv channel available within Regent Park, the operation of an internet radio broadcast station, and well-attended programming with culturally diverse participants between the ages of 14 to 24 years of age.
Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre is an innovative Community New Media and Radio and Television Arts Broadcasting Centre dedicated to:
1) The use of best practices in youth development, mentoring, and training in New Media, Radio & Television broadcast arts as well as building the capacity of Regent Park Focus to deliver a high-quality arts training program that will help young people learn important life skills and transition to meaningful employment and educational opportunities in the creative industries (i.e., film, radio, and new media) which have a strong economic presence in the Greater Toronto Area;
2) Addressing the development needs and priorities of residents of Regent Park and building community capacity through the creation, promotion, and dissemination of information relevant to the local community;
3) Building social inclusion by regularly profiling the community’s diverse cultural life and providing forums for residents to learn about each other, voice their experiences, share stories, explore issues of relevance and foster individual and community empowerment;
4) Providing community groups and members of the general public with affordable access to the means of production and broadcast related to New Media, Radio and Television Broadcast;
5) Partnering with postsecondary and industry partners to create better pathways for young people interested in post-secondary education and careers in the field of media;
6) The development of new audiences through the creation of new communication platforms (tv, cctv, internet radio, online media and mobile technologies) to broadcast and promote the work of Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre to diverse residents of Regent Park as well as the general public across the City of Toronto.
Our Programs How We Do It
Regent Park Focus provides the following FREE, year-round, multi-media programs.
Regent Park Television: RPTV is a state-of-the-art community television station with a dedicated 24 hour channel serving Regent Park. The station is operated and programmed by Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre. The goal of RPTV is to foster youth and resident engagement and serve their communication needs through the production and dissemination of information relevant to the needs, interests and aspirations of the Regent Park community. RPTV is dedicated to providing a free listing of community events and producing content in a variety of formats including animation, news shows, documentaries, public service announcements, talk shows, spoken word, short dramas, and music videos. No matter what the format, RPTV provides an exciting opportunity for youth and adult community members to share stories, voice experiences, explore issues, and profile the community's cultural life
The Regent Park Television (RPTV) initiative is being used to teach young people (15-29 years) television broadcasting tools, technologies, and methodologies. Youth are taught a variety of skills including researching, interviewing, script development, storyboarding, studio camera operations, lighting control, directing, switchboard operating, and digital editing. They also learn valuable social skills such as resource management, negotiation, decision making, problem solving, and leadership from their involvement in a youth-driven, team environment. The RPTV mentorship program is interactive, creative, and a great learning experience for interested youth. To learn more check out www.regentpark.tv.
Radio Regent: Radio Regent is a 24-hour, Internet broadcast radio station operated by Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre. Radio Regent aspires to provide original programming from 8am to 12am, seven days weekly. The mandate of Radio Regent is to provide a voice to Regent Park and other ethno-racial and marginalized communities residing in the City of Toronto. A strong emphasis of Radio Regent is on (1) the engagement of young people; (2) promoting the work of local Toronto artists; (3) providing information relevant to local Regent Park community members; and (4) showcasing news, spoken word, and musical styles influenced by, or associated with, specific cultural ethnicities that comprise Regent Park. Radio Regent programming is produced by local residents of Regent Park as well as other producers who will come to Radio Regent from all across the Greater Toronto Area. Check out Radio Regent on www.radioregent.com.
An important aspect of Radio Regent is the training, mentorship and engagement of young people. Youth are involved in variety of activities including Dj-ing, sound engineering, radio journalism, audio editing, and producing radio documentaries for broadcast. Additionally, there are several live, youth-led shows on Radio Regent including Catch da Flava Youth Radio (a social justice show produced by a collective of Regent Park youth) and the Harbord Buzz (an education-themed show produced by a collective of students from a local highschool). Getting involved in a radio show is a great way for youth to connect with other like-minded young people and learn the technical skills of radio broadcasting and journalism.
The Diva's Media Group is an all-girls group that meets weekly to discuss, take part in workshops and create web, print, audio, television and photo/graphic arts based media resources related to feminism, sexism, and other social justice issues affecting young women. The resources that are created through the program are archived on the web or broadcast on RPTV or Radio Regent. The program was designed to nurture young women, ages 12 - 19, to feel confident in the often male-dominant field of media and computer technologies.
The New Media Lab is a computer lab studio that supports various mentor and youth-led workshops such as graphic design, blogging, audio editing, 3D rendering, video editing, and much more! The New Media Lab is connected to RPTV and Radio Regent post-production activities (packaging shows for broadcast) and social media.
Summer Sessions and March Break Programs: Free media training programs available to youth ages 14-19 offered at Regent Park Focus. Join us for fun, hands-on training sessions in professional-grade studios and become a skilled youth producer of tv and radio shows! Two summer sessions offered July and August (Mon-Fri from 1 - 5 PM) and March Break during the designated week (Mon-Fri; 1 PM - 5 PM). Get in touch and register for free!
Mobile Media Lab (aka Mammal): a youth-designed, two-person bicycle carrying a boxy-looking snail which can house media equipment. The Mammal empowers Focus participants to bring media into the community. It's hard to miss when cruising around local events!
Contact us to be a part of it!
What You Can Do
Info for Youth, Adults, and Community Champions (individuals, groups, or businesses):
Youth Quote: "Although at this time in my life, I may not be able to make physical change in the world, there is a whole different side of revolution meant for young and inspired (youth) like me. It is through spreading our ideas, concerns, and discussions within our communities that a real difference can be made. Meaningful conversations are a stepping-stone into a place where visions of the future are more forseeable. You just need to get those conversations broadcasted!" ~ Regent Park Focus Blog post, 2014 (I.Bysshe)
Be a Media Broadcast Partner! Producing an RPTV show requires support for youth training and equipment expenses. For every $2,000 invested, RPTV is able to train and support 5 youth in the production of a community TV show.
Support the RPTV and Radio training program through making a charitable donation or sponsorship investment today:
Benefits: In return for your support to help to train and mentor youth, various funding level benefits include:
- A public thank you with your company logo and website address in the show credits
- A shout-out about your company on our Facebook and Twitter pages
- An opportunity to appear as a studio guest!
- The knowledge that you have contributed to the revitalization and cultural cohesion of the Regent Park community
Be a Community Champion!
Champions are individuals, groups, or businesses who believe in the work of Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre and come together to donate their time and energy to promote the organization, raise funds, or conduct other charitable activities that will benefit the young people involved at Regent Park Focus. For example, a champion could be someone that organizes their workplace colleagues to fundraise for new cameras or mobile technology equipment, or they could be an individual working in the media or digital arts field who volunteers to conduct a workplace tour or design a workshop. We’d love to hear your ideas.
Join us, volunteer, create and broadcast -- it's free! Participants are NOT required to have experience or live in the Regent Park area. To sign up, participants must: fill out a registration form, be between the ages of 14-24 years, and have an interest in the field of media arts. Currently we are looking for young people who are interested in hosting television and radio shows or have an interest in video editing. Young people are encouraged to get involved and earn volunteer hours towards their high-school requirements. Co-op placements are also available.
How can I get involved as an adult? Regent Park Focus offers volunteer positions to adults that demonstrate a commitment to the work of Regent Park Focus and have valuable and relevant experience and skills to share. (Adults can also participate as co-producers or production partners.) Interested candidates must undergo a screening process and police background check. Contact us for more details!
Lastly, how do I make a donation?
Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre is a not-for-profit, youth-driven, community-based organization. Your donation is very important to us as we rely on public and private support to help sustain our programs and activities. Please consider making Regent Park Focus your charitable organization of choice. Click here to donate online or contact us!